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Coronavirus 1) Mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS and care home staff

“NHS workers and care home staff will be legally required to have coronavirus vaccinations under plans that have the personal support of Boris Johnson, The Times has been told. The government will open a consultation tomorrow on requiring vaccination as a condition of employment for health service workers in an attempt to reduce transmission in hospitals and save lives. Ministers will also announce that they are changing the law to make vaccines compulsory for staff employed in care homes amid concerns about take-up in some parts of the country. According to official figures, 151,000 NHS workers, equivalent to slightly more than one in ten, are unvaccinated, as are 52,000 care home workers, equivalent to 16 per cent. In some regions the take-up is far lower, and there is particular concern about the rate of vaccination among people from ethnic minorities.” The Times

  • UK trial shows antibody drug can save the most vulnerable Covid patients – The Times
  • German birth rate booms after Covid lockdown – The Times
  • Pfizer supply shortage forces Covid vaccine rollout to slow down – Daily Telegraph
  • Vaccine passports will show ‘natural immunity’ for people who have had Covid – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 2) Experts tell government to delay Covid vaccines for under-18s

“The government will be advised not to offer vaccines to children until the potential risks are better understood, it was reported last night. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is expected to release a statement as early as next week urging ministers to postpone vaccinating under-18s because of ethical concerns. Experts on the committee are understood to have voiced opposition to giving the jab to children — who rarely suffer serious illness from the coronavirus — without more data. They are likely to suggest that scientists assess the outcome of vaccination programmes in other countries where children are given the vaccine, such as the US and Israel, before making a decision, it is understood.” – The Times

Coronavirus 3) ‘We can’t run society to stop the hospitals getting full’: Rees Mogg’s podcast with ConservativeHome makes the headlines

“Jacob Rees-Mogg today gave the first sign of Cabinet dissent over Boris Johnson’s decision to delay the final stage of the lockdown exit roadmap — as ministers doubled-down on No10’s revised Freedom Day pledge, despite cases and hospitalisations continuing to rise. The Commons Leader said ‘you can’t run society purely to stop the hospitals being full’, insisting the Government ‘doesn’t have the right to take charge of people’s lives, purely to prevent them seeing the doctor’. His comments are likely to raise eyebrows in Downing St, with the Prime Minister already facing rebellion from his own anti-lockdown MPs who have criticised him for pushing back the final unlocking by four weeks. Remaining lockdown restrictions are now due to be lifted on July 19 — or ‘terminus day’, as Mr Johnson called it.” – Daily Mail

  • Johnson faces battle to win over Covid lockdown sceptics in Tory ranks – The Times
  • Another delay to lifting of Covid restrictions could backfire, warn scientists – The Times

Analysis:

  • Covid will last forever and we need to live with it like flu: Top scientists, senior ministers and Boris admit virus is never going away and public will have to get used to deaths… so what is an acceptable number of daily victims? – Daily Mail
  • What did Johnson mean: ‘We have to live with the coronavirus’? – The Times

Jonathan Sumption: Britain is still paying the price for the original sin of locking down

““One last heave”. Where have we heard that before? Was it in March last year, when the lockdown was imposed for at least “three weeks”, just to flatten the peak for the sake of the NHS? Or seven weeks later in May when the risk to the NHS had passed, but we were told that a supreme collective effort was needed to “crush” the virus once and for all? Or in January this year when we heard that the “end is in sight” and “one last push” would do the trick? “Do not wreck this – we are so close,” said the deputy chief medical officer, Professor Van Tam, in February; “hang on just a few more months.” Two months later, in April, the irrepressible Van Tam calls for patience for “just a teeny bit longer”. Then on Monday, the Prime Minister extends the restrictions for four weeks (“just a little longer”). Except that it is not four weeks but 69 weeks. The Government does not get an automatic reset every time it opens its mouth.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today

Daniel Morgan inquiry reveals corruption, cover-up and litany of failures by the Met

“Dame Cressida Dick has been forced to apologise after a report into a notorious unsolved murder described the Metropolitan Police as institutionally corrupt. An independent panel said that Britain’s biggest police force repeatedly covered up corruption and other failings to protect its reputation after the killing of Daniel Morgan. The private investigator, a husband and father of two, was found dead on March 10, 1987, in a south London car park with an axe embedded in his head. No one has been brought to justice for the killing despite five police investigations. Dick, the Met commissioner, was personally criticised by the panel, which spent eight years examining the case, after it found she and other senior officers had placed “hurdles” in its way. The panel’s work was expected to take a year.” – The Times

Analysis:

  • What is the impact of the Daniel Morgan inquiry and who has been criticised? The Times

Comment:

Britain to accept flood of Australian beef in landmark trade deal

“The UK is preparing to accept huge quantities of lower-cost Australian beef in a landmark trade deal hailed by Boris Johnson as a “new dawn” for relations between the two countries. Britain will immediately accept up to 35,000 tonnes of tariff-free beef from the Commonwealth nation over the next year as part of the agreement – equal to 13pc of all the country’s current total beef imports. This figure will then rise steadily over the next decade and a half. The agreement also opens the door for Britons under the age of 35s to work and live more freely in Australia as part of a liberalisation of the working holiday visa scheme. The Prime Minister said: “Today marks a new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today

Johnson says UK must now clear through the ‘thicket of burdensome and restrictive regulation’ to take advantage of Brexit

“Boris Johnson says that a path through the ‘thicket of burdensome and restrictive regulation’ must be cleared to fulfil the potentials of Brexit. The Prime Minister welcomed a report from a taskforce of senior Conservative MPs setting out their ideas for taking advantage of being outside the European Union’s regulations. They called for ‘reform’ of the Northern Ireland Protocol, saying it ‘limits the scope’ for enacting their suggestions to reduce bureaucracy while maintaining standards. Mr Johnson pledged to give the ‘detailed consideration it deserves’ to the document from the taskforce led by Brexiteer Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative leader. The Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) set out more than 100 recommendations including to cover a new regulatory framework and reforms for high-growth sectors.” – Daily Mail

  • Brexit a ‘one-off’ chance for UK to escape EU red tape, says task force – FT

>Today

Rising prices for clothing and fuel push UK inflation up to 2.1 per cent

“UK inflation jumped again last month, overshooting both economists’ expectations and the Bank of England target, as the gradual reopening from lockdown drove up prices in clothing, fuel and meals in restaurants and bars. The price of consumer goods increased 2.1 per cent in the year to May, up from 1.5 per cent in April, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday. The consensus expectation was 1.8 per cent. Economists are monitoring price rises, with inflation slowing to as low as 0.2 per cent last summer but accelerating as the economy has opened up. Expected increases in petrol and electricity prices meant CPI inflation doubled in April, in keeping with economists’ expectations for it to pass the BoE’s target of 2 per cent by the end of the year.” – FT

Scottish MPs could vote down English laws in Gove’s attempt to save Union

“Scottish MPs will be given the right to vote down English legislation in a major constitutional reform being considered by the government to rejuvenate the Union. The Times has learnt that Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has brought forward proposals to abolish English Votes for English Laws (Evel), the Commons procedure introduced after the Scottish independence referendum. Under the plans, which were put to cabinet ministers last week, the requirement that bills, amendments and clauses of legislation affecting England alone be approved by a majority of English MPs would be abolished to make parliament work “for every part of the UK and every party in the UK”. In an implicit admission that David Cameron’s government undermined the Union by introducing it in 2015, Gove said that the mechanism should be reviewed — a proposal that has provoked a cabinet backlash.” – The Times

Give your ethics watchdog some teeth, Johnson told

“Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser should have the power to start investigations into ministerial wrongdoing, the prime minister’s anti-corruption tsar has said. John Penrose, the Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, called for the role of independent adviser on ministers’ interests to be strengthened, putting him at odds with Johnson. Penrose said that a more powerful adviser would shield the prime minister from accusations of protecting colleagues. At present only prime ministers can open investigations into ministers accused of misconduct. Labour has described the system as “toothless”. Johnson has said that the power is “quite properly mine alone”. Lord Geidt became the independent adviser in April and released a report a month later clearing Johnson of any wrongdoing over the redecoration of his Downing Street flat.” – The Times

Fox proposes bill to help people with Down’s syndrome

“People with Down’s syndrome would be legally recognised as a specific group under draft laws published today to ensure that their needs are better met. A new Down Syndrome Bill will be introduced by Liam Fox, the former cabinet minister, and is backed by Tommy Jessop, the actor with Down’s syndrome who plays Terry Boyle in Line of Duty. The bill would put Down’s syndrome on an equal footing with other minority groups. The changes in the law would ensure that public bodies such as schools, NHS bodies, social care services, job centres and local authorities are required to meet the specific needs of people with the condition, rather than lumping them in with all other disabled groups. The move would emulate many of the changes that the Autism Act 2009 implemented, which ensured that the relevant services met the needs of people on the autistic spectrum.” – The Times

The media 1) BBC journalist Nick Watt chased into Downing St by lockdown protesters

“Boris Johnson has condemned “disgraceful” scenes of a BBC journalist being chased into Downing Street after being mobbed by anti-lockdown protesters. Nick Watt, the political editor of Newsnight, was forced to run to safety after being subjected to abuse at a protest on Monday. The prime minister tweeted: “Disgraceful to see the hounding of Nick Watt doing his job. The media must be able to report the facts without fear or favour — they are the lifeblood of our democracy.” In the incident a man from Resistance GB, a group that claims to be anti-lockdown and “pro-freedom”, criticised Watt for media coverage of the pandemic and the anti-lockdown protests. The man accused Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, of lying by reporting that lockdowns were legal and of underreporting the number of people present at the anti-lockdown protest.” – The Times

The media 2) Adverts pulled from new channel GB News

“Some of the world’s largest brands have suspended advertising on GB News in the latest setback for the fledgling right-leaning news channel. Nivea, Grolsch, the Open University, Ikea and the Swedish cider maker Kopparberg have said that they will not advertise. The insurer LV= said that it would review its position. The campaign group Stop Funding Hate urged advertisers not to support the channel. Some companies said they were unaware that they were going to appear on GB News and suspended their adverts when they found out. Advertising sales for GB News are managed by Sky Media, Sky’s advertising arm, which negotiates on behalf of its own channels and third parties. The channel began broadcasting on Sunday, promising to fight “cancel culture” and reflect voices not heard in the media.” – The Times

Rising property prices lock more first-time buyers out of the market

“First-time buyers are being forced out of the property market, with many delaying their plans to buy a home amid runaway price rises. A survey of 12,000 British adults shows that the pandemic has exacerbated the gulf between first-time buyers and those already on the ladder. Despite Bank of England reports that the pandemic has allowed many to save, only 17 per cent of first-time buyers said that lockdown had enabled them to save more money for a deposit compared with 31 per cent of all buyers, according Santander bank. Nearly half (47 per cent) of first-time buyers surveyed said they had delayed their plans to buy owing to concerns about their finances. More than half (52 per cent) said that raising a deposit was now the biggest issue facing first-time buyers, an increase on the 30 per cent who identified this as the key barrier in Santander’s 2019 first-time buyer study.” – The Times

Lib Dems hopeful of by-election upset in Chesham & Amersham

“The Liberal Democrats are close to an upset in the safe Conservative seat of Chesham & Amersham at a by-election tomorrow, the party’s internal polling has shown. Figures obtained by The Times suggest that the Lib Dems could gain 41 per cent of the vote compared with 45 per cent for the Tories. The by-election was triggered by the death of Dame Cheryl Gillan, who was the constituency’s MP for 29 years. At the 2019 election she held onto the seat with a majority of more than 16,000. Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, have visited the seat in recent days. Lib Dem polling has shown that the race is tightening after a campaign dominated by the twin issues of HS2 and planning reforms. The polling was from last week but data from the weekend suggests the race could even be “neck and neck”, according to Lib Dem strategists.” – The Times

  • Lib Dem councillor is appointed to crime panel despite serving two years for smuggling £500,000 of cocaine from Bolivia – after Tory was disqualified as crime commissioner due to drink-drive conviction – Daily Mail

MoD was warned of Ajax tank trial risk

“Ministry of Defence officials were alerted to problems with its new light tanks programme more than 11 months before it suspended training over fears that equipment was injuring troops. Jeremy Quin, the defence procurement minister, admitted that at the end of 2019 soldiers carried out pre-trial training on the Ajax armoured vehicles and that there were anecdotal reports of vibration issues. In July last year soldiers reported noise problems, and in September a medical report raised the possibility of injuries from the noise. However, it was not until November 6 that the training was suspended for four months. Francis Tusa, a defence expert, said: “Bearing in mind the MoD and officers have a duty of care, why the hell didn’t someone stop the trials?” The Ajax was chosen in 2010, and a contract signed four years later required the first vehicles to be delivered in 2017, but the target was missed.” – The Times

Britain faces ‘catastrophic’ power cuts as electricity begins to run everything from cars to boilers

“Britain faces catastrophic power cuts because of an increasing reliance on electricity to run everything from cars to home boilers, the Committee on Climate Change has warned. Decarbonisation plans, which involve switching transport and heating away from petrol and gas, will mean outages in the future have a greater impact, the Government’s independent advisory committee on climate change has said, as it urged the Government to make sure the system could withstand extreme weather. Incidents such as floods and storms, potentially made more intense by climate change, could leave thousands without power unless the Government prioritises adaptation, something it has so far failed to do, the committee said.” – Daily Telegraph

Huge explosions rock Gaza as Israeli warplanes launch airstrikes in response to Hamas firebomb balloons just three weeks after ceasefire was agreed

“Israeli aircraft have launched fresh airstrikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, bringing an end to the brief ceasefire after the latest devastating conflict in the region. Israel’s military said the latest explosions were a response to the launching of incendiary balloons that caused fires in fields in southern Israel. In a statement, the military said that it was ‘ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza’. The attacks, following an Israeli nationalist march in East Jerusalem that angered Palestinians, were the first launched by Israel and Gaza militants since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended 11 days of cross-border fighting last month.” – Daily Mail

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